The game plan to deliver exceptional patient experiences

Healthcare organizations must adapt to a new market reality: Patient experiences are also consumer experiences.

No longer do patients just rate doctors and nurses — they rate their entire experience, from the user-friendliness of the website to provider visit, member engagement and beyond. This increase of consumerization has been a major disruptor in healthcare, and many healthcare organizations are now grappling with how to deliver an ideal consumer experience.

In a January webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Medallia, Toni Land, RN, MBA, CPXP, Medallia's head of clinical healthcare experience, addressed how to develop a game plan by listening to and gaining insights from consumers and team members and using these insights to create actionable plans to improve the patient experience.

Four key takeaways:

1. Know and use key success measures. Build measurements to track progress and results. Key measures fall into two categories: "lagging" and "leading" measures. Lagging measures are retrospective and based on outcomes; they assess performance after the fact. For example, you set a goal to lose 20 pounds by a certain date; by that date, you either achieved the goal or you did not.

A leading measure, meanwhile, is proactive and predictive; it measures progress and tells you if you are likely (or not likely) to achieve your goal, providing the ability to course-correct. For example, a leading measure might be whether you are exercising three times per week to help achieve the weight-loss goal. The leading measure provides early awareness on whether you are progressing to achieving the goal.

2. Ensure team members are connected to the broader plan. Organizations and teams need weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly targets so team members can stay up to date on how they and the organization are progressing toward achieving goals. "Do teams themselves have goals and targets they can act on?" Ms. Land asked. People should be clear on how their individual goals and objectives link to the organization's broader goals.

3. Listen and take action. A key part of a positive experience is building trust; trust-building starts with listening. Know how to hear people and apply their feedback. Listen to your consumers, families, team members and supervisors and then explain how you have applied their feedback. Real-time feedback is especially powerful. For example, a doctor received feedback in a patient's post-survey visit that the patient didn't understand her medication. Ms. Land said the doctor acted by calling the patient and, in less than two minutes, answered the patient's questions about the medication. Having processes to listen to and gain feedback from patients and then act on this feedback improves experiences.

4. A high-quality game plan for improving consumer experience has several keys. A good game plan involves listening at every moment by capturing 100 percent of interactions with patients, families and team members; is people-led and technology-enabled; is focused on action; and can have transformational impact.

Good game plans help deliver on the organization's mission, connect team members to the goals in the plan, have incremental targets that can be tracked over time, and include a way to update the team and make "in-the-moment" adjustments. 

Listening, trust, feedback and aligned goals are critical elements of a game plan that produces exceptional patient experiences. A proven customer engagement platform like Medallia can enable healthcare organizations to listen, build trust and deliver better experiences for those they serve.  

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